[Wednesday - 05/05/99] Despite its lack of connection to any specifics of our Arthurian tour, we couldn't resist stopping at Shrewsbury Abbey. As fans of Ellis Peters' Brother Cadfael, both the novels and the series, a walk through his famous herb garden was too great an opportunity to pass up. While we refer to it simply as Shrewsbury Abbey, it is, in fact, the Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in the Parish of the Holy Cross, Shrewsbury within the Diocese of Lichfield. Say that three times fast!
The Abbey Church has been a place of worship and pilrimage for over 900 years. The Parochial Church Council recently completed an extensive program of restoration with the assistance of English Heritage and other benefactors. Maintenance of the church costs over £50,000 pounds a year, or £6 pounds an hour! We contributed for our hour there, don't worry.
The Benedictine Abbey of Saint Peter and Saint Paul was founded in 1083 by Roger de Montgomery and built on the site of a wooden Saxon Church. The Rule of Saint Benedict was followed by the community of monks for 457 years with the church at the center of a daily round of prayer, study, and manual labor. From a very early date, local people had been allowed to worship at the altar of the Holy Cross in the nave and, following the Dissolution of the monastery in 1540, the nave was left to serve as the parish church.
In 1283, a Parliament met in the Chapter House of Shrewsbury Abbey. It was the first national assembly in which the Commons had any share by legal authority.
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